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WINONA LAKE, Ind. - The Red Wolves wear that bull's-eye quite well.
The Indiana University East volleyball team started its 2010 season with a pair of victories on the opening day of the Grace College Ramada Plaza Tournament.
The Red Wolves beat Mount Vernon Nazarene 25-19, 25-22, 26-24 in their first match.
IU East beat Huntington University 25-11, 25-11, 25-17 in their second match.
The Red Wolves warmed up in new black shirts with a big red and white bull's-eye on the back and the words "We know" in the front.
The shirts were the brainchild of sophomore setter Lauren Crump (Indianapolis, Ind./Scecina Memorial High School).
The shirts represented an acknowledgment of Red Wolves coach Charlie Brown's preseason-long emphasis that IU East would have a target on its back during the 2010 season.
The Red Wolves were the top pick in the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference preseason poll and started the season ranked 38th in the Tachikara-NAIA Volleyball Coaches' Preseason Top 25 Poll.
Yes, coach, we know we have a target on our backs.
"Coach always says there's a big bull's-eye on our backs. That everybody's going to be looking to beat us," Crump said.
"So I thought we should get a shirt that has a bull's-eye on our backs and 'We know' on the front in lowercase - nonchalantly. Like, we know. We've got that. We're OK with that."
Coach, your take?
"My first reaction was shock," Brown said. "But it really summarized where are minds are at in relation to the season.
"We had people asking us all day what it meant. To be able to wear a shirt like that and not be embarrassed and know what it means says a lot about who we are and who we are going to be."
IU East then proceeded to take aim at Mount Vernon Nazarene and Huntington.
The Red Wolves rarely trailed in the first two games against the Cougars. IU East started the third game slowly and would fall behind 23-21, but ran off five of the last six points to clinch the match.
Mount Vernon Nazarene was 37-10 last season and returned second-team NAIA All-American Jackie Albrecht.
Albrecht finished with 11 kills against the Red Wolves, but IU East's Allison Nicley (Lebanon, Ind./Western Boone High School) and Breezy Strete (Troy, Ohio/Troy High School) both had more.
The Red Wolves then chopped down Huntington's Foresters in three quick games.
IU East hit at a .523 clip and limited Huntington to a -.056 hitting percentage.
Strete and freshman middle hitter Caitlin Burroughs (Richmond, Ind./Northeastern High School) had 10 kills apiece. Sophomore defensive specialist Kristin Waechter (Muncie, Ind./Daleville High School) made seven digs and served up three aces.
"It took all 13 of us to come in and do all of our parts," Crump said. "There wasn't one standout and nobody did badly. Our teamwork was the best, and that's what got us the wins."
IU East concludes pool play at the Grace College Ramada Plaza Tournament on Aug. 21 at 9 a.m. against Bethel College (Ind.) The crossover rounds start at 2 p.m.
The Red Wolves are the only unbeaten team in Pool B.
"A good beginning, but we're not done. We've got two big matches tomorrow," Brown said.
Click here for stats from the IU East-Mount Vernon Nazarene match
Click here for stats from the IU East-Huntington match
Live stats for the Aug. 21 matches will be available at www.iueredwolves.com.